William Gates had a dream. Growing up, he had read with nascent wonder about Philo Farnsworth and his amazing television. He saw this quiet, bespectacled farm boy who first conceived this amazing idea, and he thought, this I could do. Bill was an enterprising kid, and when he first got on a computer and typed out a letter to his mother, and printed it out, he knew that this was something big.
Bill entered college at Harvard University. He was 5'7 and 130 pounds soaking wet, a scrawny kid from Seattle. The kids at Harvard were all rich daddy's boys, mostly political, and didn't let "West Coast Willie" in on most of their reindeer games. But he did meet one kid he liked a lot: a chubby, energetic mouthbreather named Steve Ballmer. The two hung out a lot, went to parties together, joined a UNIX team, programmed in BASIC, worked hard for a year. And then one day in the summer of 1974 Bill's old friend Paul Allen called him in his dorm room.
Paul told him about a wonderful idea to make office suite software and operating systems for personal computers for businesses. Bill and Paul began to work on their new company, which they named Microsoft.
By 1975, Bill had dropped out. Microsoft had a couple of nicely made programs that were selling well. Personal computers were becoming increasingly popular. Bill and Paul hired on a few underlings, including one programmer named Gordon Letwin. Gates liked Letwin, he seemed to be a hard worker, and the group needed one of those for sure.
One day, as Bill sat in his office, there was a knock on his door. "Come in," he said, and in came Gordon. "What can I do for you, Gordon?" He noticed Gordon seemed edgy, his eyes bloodshot, his face a sinister-looking smile. Gordon was normally pretty cool. Maybe he was on drugs.
"I've been watching you, Bill. Watching this company grow, and these products you have to offer. I see the Big Projects coming up ahead, and I think that we can do this right if we work together."
"Well, Gordon, I'm glad you think we're moving forward, but what do you mean, work together?"
"Quit calling me Gordon."
Now Bill was antsy. Definitely drugs.
"Okay ... what should I call you, then?"
"I am the master of this Earth. The Prince of Darkness." Gordon seemed to grow in statue, and now Bill watched with gaping terror as his eyes blazed up and curls of smoke lashed out from the floor.
"Call me what you will. Now, it's time that we take this enterprise into a new paradigm!" Bill had no idea what this meant. Gordon/Satan suddenly rushed forward, grabbed Bill by the temples and squeezed. A charge of lightning flew between Gordon and Bill, connecting them temporarily. And in an instant, the room reverted back to its original tenor, gray, comfortable, tranquil.
Gordon Letwin stood across from his boss, but he couldn't quite remember why he had come in. He rubbed his head for a minute, until Bill interrupted him, "What can I do for you, Gordon?"
Gordon stammered for a moment, and then waved it off. "Never mind, I forgot." The two had a light chuckle at the moment, and then Gordon left the office.
The next day, the Microsoft employees walked into their 4th floor office space as usual. On the main door someone had tacked on a sign, which read
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
The confused people hadn't heard of any managerial changes. Was someone being fired? One by one they marched over to Bill's office and peeked their head in the door to ask about the sign.
"Oh, it's just metaphsyical. You know, I feel like a new person. Got some new ideas, some new visions. We're here on the cusp of this PC business, and really, there are some great windows of opportunity around us. So, don't worry your head, we're still on the up and up!" And after they left, they couldn't help but hear a high-pitched giggle from the room. Some in-joke that only he got.
So. Where do you want to go today?